Land borders in the SADC region are critical zones for unlocking economic development, regional value chains and trade. It is at the borders that many issues related to regional integration intersect. In this light, this paper examines two case studies on the border regions around Beitbridge and Chirundu, which are critical links in the North– South Corridor and are vital in both regional and bilateral development initiatives. This paper seeks to add to the conversation on transport linkages and the reasons for uncompetitive trade within SADC, as well as to consider some of the economic development opportunities at land borders in the region. It does so by capturing the research findings from two specific case studies rather than considering the broader macro-approach of policymakers in the region, which has been well documented in other work. It was initially thought that the lack of backhaul opportunities was one of the most pressing contributors to uncompetitive transport pricing in Southern Africa. However, border delays, and particularly standing time of trucks, have emerged as the largest contributor to transport costs in recent research. This paper seeks to understand political economy factors impacting on standing time based on information gathered through snapshots of operations at Beitbridge and Chirundu.